One to watch: Halma

FTSE 250 constituent Halma is not, perhaps, a company many private investors will have heard of, yet it should be "on the radar" having delivered 32 years of dividend rises of 5 per cent or more. As the share price has risen sharply over the past year, should shareholders secure the profit or is there more to go for?

Halma makes health and safety equipment. The full-year results, released last week, made good reading, with a 21 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to 104.6 million as revenues advanced to 518m. Halma is focussing on increasing its exposure to emerging markets as well as China and India.

Halma spent 82m on seven acquisitions over the past year and it is likely further "bolt-on" acquisitions will be made. These can easily be funded given net debt on the balance sheet is only 37m.

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Certain areas of the business are facing challenging trading conditions. Therefore, the share price would appear to be "up with events", but Halma is a high-quality company and so I would not be a "seller", even at this level. Indeed, I would recommend any meaningful share price weakness is used as an opportunity to establish a position.


401.7p +3.6p

Scotsman says BUY

• The value of your investments may fall and you may get back less than you invested. This does not constitute investment advice and you should take professional advice regarding the suitability of this company for your portfolio.


Cairn Energy

395p +11.4p

Broker says REDUCE

AFTER news that Cairn had lowered the sale price for its Indian subsidiary, Evolution cut its rating on the oil and gas explorer from "add" to "reduce". The broker said: "With Greenland still high risk, uncertainty over Indian approval and an oil price on the slide, the outlook looks skewed to the downside."


171.25p -3.75p

Broker says BUY

RBS Equities has slashed its target price on Edinburgh-based semiconductor maker Wolfson Microelectronics from 310p to 220p but has retained its "buy" recommendation on the stock because of the company's expertise in audio chips and the number of contracts it has won in the past year.